Alpine Slalom, GS Racers Find Gold
By Caitlin Croft
The Alpine Ski Team athletes at Holiday Valley and HoliMont have been hard at work trying to make up for the lackluster start of winter. Last weekend the two resorts kicked off the U16/U19/U21 season with two races: Saturday a slalom competition at Holiday Valley and Sunday a Giant Slalom competition at HoliMont. This age group competes against athletes from Central and Western New York.
Saturday brought much success for the Holiday Valley Ski Team women.
Anya Elizondo (U16 & overall) took home the gold. Right behind her, Devynn Martin placed 3rd (U16) and 5th overall. Katrina Surdyka placed 5th (U21) and 8th overall. The rest of the U16 girls had a strong showing with Candice Kasahara finishing 5th (12th overall), Paige Duffy 6th (16th) and Mckenzie Galvin 15th (35th).
The Holiday Valley Men also took gold both overall and in their age class.
Nathan Briselden (U16) outskied the whole field with a wondrous 1.21 second win. Michael Mercer finished close behind at 4th (7th overall). HoliMont’s Carson Foxcroft placed 2nd out of the U16 field and 3rd overall. Rounding out the day for U16 men, Joshua Allegra finished 9th (18th overall), Evan Grucela 13th (23rd), Christian Taylor 16th (27th), Ben Wise 18th (31st), Sean Nolan 25th (39th) and Jes Sauereisen 28th (42nd).
Holiday Valley’s U19 & U21 men also had a great day with Ben Finicle finishing 4th (8th overall), Nick Costanzo 8th (13th) and Eric Schafer 12th (28th).
On Sunday, pouring rain put a damper on the race, but not on the athletes.
The Holiday Valley U16 team pushed through to take three of the six overall podium spots. Devynn Martin was the fastest female on the day, Nathan Briselden continued Saturday’s success winning yet again and Max Carbaugh finished 2nd overall.
The Holiday Valley U16 women had an even stronger showing at HoliMont: Taylor Hubert 2nd (4th overall), Candice Kasahara 3rd (5th), Anya Elizondo 5th (7th), Mckenzie Galvin 16th (30th), and Paige Duffy 17th (31st).
The HoliMont U16 women also had a great day, putting seven girls through the finish line. The best result was from Zoe Knauss, who finished 8th (15th overall). Following her was Andee Berberich placing 10th (20th overall), Brogan Cairns 12th (24th) and Rachel Green 14th (26th).
HoliMont’s U19 women had an impressive day as well. Sophia Richards took 3rd (21st overall), Logan Humiston 20th (45th) and Kylie Raguso rounded out the team with a 26th (59th). Holiday Valley’s Katrina Surdyka (U19) finished 9th (17th overall).
On the men’s side, Holiday Valley’s U16 team dominated. After Briselden’s and Carbaugh’s first and second place finishes respectively, Michael Mercer finished the day in 6th (14th overall), Joshua Allegra 10th (23rd), Evan Grucela 17th (33rd), Christian Taylor 24th (39th), Sean Nolan 25th (39th), Jes Sauereisen 28th (42nd) and Ben Wise 27th (44th).
HoliMont’s U16 men had a better showing on Sunday: Gage Thibodeau finished 4th (8th overall), Andrew Mangan 7th (15th), Carlo Muscarella 15th (31st) Ethan Richards 18th (34th) and Nicholas Scott 20th (36th).
The Holiday Valley U19/U21 men had a good Sunday at HoliMont with Nick Costanzo 6th (11th overall) Ben Finicle 13th (22nd) and Eric Schafer 17th (41st).
“With the season now going full steam, we look forward to great things from our young athletes,” said Connor Kell, who coaches both men and woman at all age levels at Holiday Valley. “Whether on or off the hill, they are a driven group of kids who love skiing in Ellicottville!”
Holiday Valley’s U16 Coach John Galvin noted that “This weekend was outstanding! One of the many positives is how well our U16 athletes skied with the older U19/U21 athletes.” And, he added, “A lot of the athletes are already set up to achieve their season goals!”